- Museum number
- Object: The Witch of Endor and the Unexpected Ghost. Satirist October 1st 1813.-
Plate to the 'Satirist', xiii. 289. 'Explanation of the Plate', pp. 289-95. The ghost of Pitt (left), irradiated and standing upon clouds, looks sternly towards Burdett and a miscellaneous assortment of opponents of the Government in Ireland. He is elongated and corpse-like, in a shroud with the sleeves of his Chancellor of the Exchequer's gown. Burdett, 'the witch of Endor', who is conducting an incantation, alone confronts him boldly, though with defiant alarm. He stands with legs astride, wearing a long cloak over waistcoat, with a high shirt-collar, and pantaloons; on his breast is a skull and cross-bones. In his right hand is a large dagger, dripping blood; in his left is a tall staff topped by a large cap of Liberty from which writhing serpents emerge. Before him is a large cauldron standing among flames, and boiling over with a (red) froth of 'Protestant Blood'. In the flames are a crown, a mitre, a crosier, and documents: 'Bill of Rights', 'Habeas Corpus'; under his foot is 'Magna Charta' and a sceptre. He declaims:
'Spirit of Fitzg—r—ld hear!
By the blood of Robespierre;
By Danton's bowl; by Marat's Knife;
By Napoleon's spell bound life;
By the Shapes of Fear that wave
The gorey wing oe'r Orleans grave
Rise from thy dishonoured Tomb!!
Crouching on the ground between Burdett's legs is O'Connell, much alarmed; one hand rests on a brief inscribed: 'Retaining Fee in King v Magee 10 Guine[a]s Councellor O'Connell'; he is 'repeating Ave Marias' (p. 295). On the extreme right is a window, through which General Mathew (copied from No. 10163 by Gillray), identified by a paper projecting from his pocket: 'General Matthew') is about to leap. One foot is on the sill, the other on a table on which is a paper kept in place by a massive ink-stand, with a list of names or signatures: 'Burdett', 'Bryon', 'Matthew', 'Hutchins[on]', 'Landaff'. Bryan, dressed as a military officer, rushes towards the window clutching Mathew's coat-tails; a dagger is thrust through his belt, and he holds a baton inscribed 'Cheif of the Boys of Kil . . .', he looks over his shoulder, exclaiming, "Pitt: by all thats Terrible." In front of him, lying prone, is Landaff, Mathew's brother, a slim military officer (his coat coloured green); his eyes are closed and he holds a cross to which a rosary is attached. A man wearing (green) military dress and holding a (green) flag inscribed 'Toleration For Ever Down with the Protestants'; he cries: "From the Red Sea by St Patrick" and staggers back in consternation. Behind him a crowd of Irish ragamuffins with spears flee in terror to the right. A Gothic window indicates a wall behind them. On the wall on the left, and partly obliterated by rays from Pitt, is a picture of a guillotine. The victim's head is in the basket; blood gushes from the neck; a mitre shows that the body is that of a bishop.
1 October 1813.
- Production date
Height: 240 millimetres
Width: 388 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
According to the text Burdett visited Landaff at Thomastown in August. Discontented at the decline of the radical fortunes in England, they discussed the prospects of 'a grand display of popular feeling' in Ireland. Burdett, in order to probe the future, pledged himself to raise a spirit by a long invocation to Fitzgerald (opening lines on the plate), to discover the prospects of an armed rising in Ireland. In place of Fitzgerald (see No. 9227, &c.) Pitt appeared; the terror of the company was abated only by Napoleon's Dresden bulletin (cf. No. 12086). For the ghost of Pitt see No. 11895; Murray, exasperated by Whitbread's letter, continued to threaten Chapman, and applied to Burdett who gave him a cheque on Coutts, which increased his delusion. 'Examiner', 1813, p. 561 f. Landaff, Mathews, and Hutchinson (who had recently made a gross attack in the Lords on the Regent) were Irish M.P.'s in favour of Emancipation. For Orleans (Egalite) see No. 8292, &c. For Bryan see Hugh Bryan, 'The Autobiography of an Irish Rebel', 1866. For O'Connell's defence of John Magee, July 1813, see 'Ann. Reg.' 1813, pp. 269-74.
Reid, No. 258. Cohn, No. 724.
Coloured impression not folded, showing that it was issued separately.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number